After serving seven years with United Way of Greater Atlanta Linc and Young Professional Leaders, it is my absolute joy and privilege to step up as the 2022-2023 Young Professional Leaders Chair, carrying out our mission of uniting and equipping young leaders to build a greater Atlanta.

I have always had a strong passion for uplifting and advocating for our children, the most vulnerable in our communities. Only one-third of the children living in Atlanta and surrounding communities are having their early childcare needs met, resulting in only 1 of 5 third graders being strong readers. This limits their opportunities and makes them four times more likely to drop out of school.

Through United Way’s Strong Learners pillar, we work to improve educational outcomes for children by expanding early learning opportunities, increasing support outside of school, and helping to strengthen families’ health and financial stability through a holistic approach starting from infancy. This includes expanding access to early education, building reading skills, increasing healthcare navigation, securing basic housing needs, and strengthening family engagement through community partnerships.

As the 2022-2023 Chair, I am excited about the opportunities that sit before us and the impact we will make as young professionals serving our community. Living through two years of a pandemic and seeing the effects it has had not only on our own lives but on the lives of our loved ones and those in the communities where we live, we are more enthusiastic and ready as ever to roll up our sleeves and get to work. We are a group of young professionals that puts our passion to work to serve, grow as leaders, and develop as professionals together.

This is a humbling, full-circle moment to be able to serve the community in this capacity. The United Way’s mission of engaging and bringing together people and resources to drive sustainable and equitable improvements in the well-being of children, families, and individuals in the community is near and dear to my heart, as I have seen and experienced the impact of the work in my own life. I am compelled to pay it forward.

I’ll close with this, “Without service, we would not have a strong quality of life. It’s important to the person who serves as well as the recipient. It’s the way in which we ourselves grow and develop.” – Dorothy Height

Keonda M Banks

2022-2023 United Way YPL Chair

 

As 2020 comes to a close, we can’t help but be reminded that this year has been one of great difficulty and growth for many of us; and one of perseverance for all of us. We have learned and are still learning a great deal about what we can endure; how to come together as a community to support one another; and hopefully, how to set aside our differences to help one another survive and find peace during this trying season.

For our YPL, I am proud to have seen this organization of leaders come together to continue the work of building connection and breaking down barriers to success for our community of Greater Atlanta. Over the past six months, we have engaged young professionals throughout the Atlanta area in Strong Learners and Economic Stability, two of United Way’s four Child Well-Being priority areas through over 550 virtual and in-person volunteer hours as well as raising over $6K to benefit United Way’s Child Well-being and Racial Equity funds.

And we are even more optimistic for what 2021 will bring. YPL will focus our philanthropy, advocacy, and volunteering efforts on Brighter Futures and College and Career Ready, the remaining two of United Way’s four Child Well-Being priority areas. We welcome YPL members and guests to engage with us in upcoming events and activities aligned to each of these priority areas to increase child well-being in our community.

Click on the links below to learn more about each of United Way’s investment priority areas that we are focused on for 2020-2021 and join us for upcoming events and activities to support each of these.

Strong Learners – August, September, October

Economic Stability – November, December, January

Brighter Futures – February, March

College & Career Ready – April, May, June

To learn more and get engaged, join us for our first virtual social and game night of 2021 on January 21st.

Happy Holidays!

Brandi Wyche

2020-2021 Young Professional Leaders Chair

Want to connect with Brandi? Message her at ypl@unitedwayatlanta.org.

2020 is destined to be a year of significant historical relevance in our lifetime. In this season we are enduring a global pandemic the likes of which we have never seen; an economic slowdown that is causing hardships across the Atlanta area as well as across the US; and a long-awaited uprising against racial injustices and police brutality. 2020’s provocations only scratch the surface of the challenges that many in our city face: challenges of homelessness, generational poverty, income inequality, racial divides, adult illiteracy, and low educational standards, to name a few.

Even with our current challenges, the city of Atlanta has been historically known to be a city of growth; a city poised at the forefront of opportunity; a city uniquely situated at the intersection of business, government, and philanthropy; a city with a history of building leaders that change the world. To this end, I am proud to be involved with United Way of Greater Atlanta, an organization known for building those types of leaders.

As the 2020-2021 United Way Young Professional Leaders (YPL) Chair, I am excited about the opportunity we have to take on the challenges that lie before us. This year’s YPL Board is comprised of incredible, action-oriented leaders from some of Atlanta’s most influential businesses and we are ready to be a proactive voice for change in Atlanta’s community through philanthropy, community advocacy, and volunteerism.

If you are a young professional ready to take on these challenging times, enhance your leadership skills, and build important relationships while you’re at it, I hope that you will join us this year! Our YPL Advisory Board is currently preparing innovative and actionable ways for you to get involved and make a difference in our community. As chair, I believe that your involvement in tackling these challenging times will make 2020 a year of positive change that you may never forget.

Brandi Wyche

2020-2021 Young Professional Leaders Chair

Want to connect with Brandi? Message her at ypl@unitedwayatlanta.org.